Real Madrid's Benzema gets suspended jail term

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has been found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of a former international team mate over a sex tape.

He was sentenced to a one-year suspended jail term in a Versailles court Wednesday (November 24).

He was also fined more than $84,000 and ordered to pay former team mate Mathieu Valbuena almost 90,000 dollars to cover legal costs and over 168,000 dollars in damages together with his three other co-accused.

Benzema's lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, said he would appeal against the verdict.

"My reaction is one of anger, faced with this judgement which is absolutely contradictory. It was clearly announced by the court itself that Benzema was not aware of the plan in advance and then they said he couldn't have not known, without any proof of that, and so they condemned him, they gave him a punishment that is very severe and unjust and without proof. We are quite shocked by this decision."

Benzema was not in court and has denied any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors had argued that Benzema had encouraged Valbuena to pay a suspected group of blackmailers in order to keep the sexually explicit tape out of the public eye.

They said Valbuena received the first of several phone calls threatening to expose the tape in June 2015. Valbuena told the court that the blackmail attempt left him fearing for his career and place in the national squad.

The prosecution added that Benzema was recruited by the alleged blackmailers to encourage Valbuena to pay as his teammate stalled.

Benzema and Valbuena both lost their places in the national team in the wake of the scandal.

Real Madrid declined to comment.

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